1974 Laverda 750SFC Street Legal Racer

‘Right from its first competition appearances (1971), the SFC proved its worth, winning the Vallelunga 500 km, the Oss 24 hours in Holland, Zeltweg in Austria and the Barcelona 24 hours. It was a sturdy, easy-to-maintain racing bike suited in every way to private riders. Laverda: The Story of a Passion, Bruno Tamiello/Paolo Palma (PPS Editore, 1997.)

A simultaneous co-development of the 750 ‘Honda lookalike’ single overhead cam, 360-degree, over square (80mm bore x 74mm stroke) parallel twin, street bike, the SFC – Super Freni Competizione (freni is Italian for brakes) – was a handmade, batch production, street legal race bike. Built between 1971 and 1976 in Breganze, in the Italian Dolomite foothills, Moto Laverda produced only 550 odd examples of this stunningly beautiful machine designed to compete in Formula 750 and endurance races, and it was astonishingly successful. All examples came in bright orange!

This matching numbers 1974-batch SFC is a North American specification bike – meaning Nippon Denso gauges, Tommaselli Jota-style bars, ND Suzuki-style switches, indicators and a Sebring mirror – that was formerly on display at Moto Borgotaro in Brooklyn, New York. A ‘specification perfectionist’ would rate this machine at about 98 per cent, but those two percentage points are easy fixes. Missing are the indicators, side reflectors, and the left-side fairing-mounted mirror – this is ‘normal’ for most contemporary dealers never installed them when new. Also missing is the aluminum foil NA-homologation tag rivetted to the right side of the frame near the lower engine mounts. An aluminum tank is installed but the original fiberglass tank – now unsafe to hold gas – comes with the bike. The taillight is from a European bike. The NA taillight, indicators and mirror are available.

Two of the most significant updates for 1974 was the pair of Dell’Orto PHB 36 carburetors, without accelerator pumps, and twin-bleed Brembo F08 calipers with twin front discs, and a single rear disc on an Elektron hub. A racing two-into-one megaphone (as on this example) accentuated the lean race replica profile, and the claimed power for the 1974 750 SFC was 75 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. The right-side gear shift remained as did Borrani rims and Ceriani suspension front and back.

It is believed that this Laverda was originally sold in Canada to Toronto dealer Franco Romanelli. It has been traced – it may be an incomplete trail – to a Canadian collector, one Peter Lehmann, to Michael’s Motorcycles in Saint Louis, Missouri, to Eric Kurtev in Wisconsin, then to well-known collector Stuart Parr of New York City.

From static display, the bike has recently enjoyed a full re-commissioning and, as a result, runs exceptionally well. It starts well, idles and revs freely through the rev range with a spectacularly thunderous accompaniment. It shifts well, brakes and turns with aplomb. A really fantastic imposing ride.

Altogether it’s a beautiful, well restored example, that is worthy of serious consideration by a collector of Italian superbikes of the 1970s, one that can be ridden successfully on the street.